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Crime Season

Jon Loomis releases next installment of crime fiction

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by Ken Szymanski photos by Andrea Paulseth

 
Local author Jon Loomis (shown here sitting next to an ominous-looking wood pile) recently released Mating Season, his second crime novel.

11:32 a.m. on a recent Wednesday … suspected local mystery author Jon Loomis enters CourtN’ House Bar & Grill. It’s the kind of place the main character in his two mystery novels, Detective Frank Coffin, would hang out with fellow members of the force. Loomis is here for an interrogation interview. My name’s Szymanski. I carry a pen.

Few would expect that a book written by a professor could be something one could take to the beach. With his debut, High Season, and the current follow-up, Mating Season, UWEC English professor Jon Loomis shatters the stuffy ivory tower stereotypes and delivers a fast-paced, witty, seedy, quirky who-done-it that’s leaving fingerprints all over the crime novel world.

Jon Loomis, who has two volumes of published poetry, who can speak knowledgably about literary criticism and Shakespeare, who has been published in academic journals, is writing mystery novels one critic complimented as “delightfully campy.” One would think a professor would prefer “delightfully profound.” Loomis, however, revels in what he jokingly called the “lower rent” world of crime fiction.

“Ultimately, we write the book we want to read,” says Loomis, a fan of mysteries since childhood. Poetry’s limited market also played into Loomis’ decision. “Even students of poetry don’t read much poetry. I wanted to experiment with the prospects of a broader audience. And it seems to be working out.”

Yes it does. His debut earned high-profile praise across the country. Mating Season, the sequel released in April, will be featured on NPR’s Morning Edition sometime in July. Loomis flew to Provincetown, Massachusetts to do a walking tour with host Linda Wertheimer, with Loomis discussing different settings in the book. Exposure to NPR’s national audience will undoubtedly lead to another sales boost. High Season, meanwhile, is enjoying a second run in paperback.

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